Friday, June 13, 2014

Writing When You’ve “Got Nothing”

By Kim

Our new dentist loves us. Since switching to her in February, the Bullock family has personally funded a luxury vacation to Tahiti or Paris or anywhere in the world she may wish to go. By June 30th we will have had one bridge installed (me), and five cavities filled (one for the hubby and four for the younger child, the one who faithfully brushes her teeth twice a day.)  We will also have had TEN extractions. Yes, ten! One was a pesky baby tooth I managed to keep for forty years, and the rest belong to my poor kids. Welcome to summer vacation!

Our orthodontist loves us. While viewing the X-ray exposing the disaster that is my youngest daughter’s mouth, I could almost see the glee in his eyes. Look at all those sideways teeth just waiting to break through! What a great challenge! Australia, here I come! Being a good doctor, he completely masked this expression before turning to my child. He showed genuine sympathy over what she must endure in order to achieve the perfect smile, the smile he assured us both she will eventually have. She’s eight. All she heard was “these five teeth need to go now.”

When it was the older daughter’s turn to go to the orthodontist this week, outgrown retainer in hand, she expected she would get a new appliance. Instead she watched the doctor and his assistant compare last year’s X-rays to this year’s. “Are those last four baby teeth even a little loose?” they asked. No, they were not, even though it looked like nothing held them in place. “Well, then, it’s time for your dentist to wiggle them out.” If the new teeth erupt quickly enough she may be sporting a mouth full of brackets and wire by fall. Lucky her!

Lowes Home Improvement loves us. I've had it with the ancient popcorn ceilings in my house and (with the help of my wonderful father) have begun to scrape away the dingy little dust-magnets. I warned the kids that their rooms would be done as soon as school let out so I could conscript them into service, too. This process has begun in earnest.

Of course, tackling their rooms leads to inevitable re-decorations. The younger child, now a fourth grader, is understandably embarrassed by the circus animal border in her room, a remnant of her preschool days. The older child wanted a black and white room so badly at nine that she paid for the paint. Now almost a teenager (sob!) she wants a room that expresses her obsessions with art, ballet, and Paris. It must be pastel pink, of course! Since she is in a ballet company and a demanding art program, this space must serve as both dance/art studio and place to sleep. A tall order, but Lowes is there to help!

What does any of this have to do with writing? Nada. It’s a five hundred word essay on why I’ve got nothing, but it goes to show that even in the midst of all the insanity, I CAN whip out five hundred words in an hour. Even when I sit down with no idea what to write. Even on my desktop computer, where I generally can’t get much work done. Even with a child watching a movie on Netflix ten feet away.

A lot of our readers are writers with children home for the summer. You may be one of them. Do you have any strategies for balancing kid-time and work-time when life keeps getting in the way? 

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